AUSTRALIA TOUR OF INDIA
Coach Justin Langer backs Shaun Marsh to fill No6 vacancy against India
Melbourne — Shaun Marsh has valuable experience on the Indian subcontinent and should slot into the vacant No6 spot in Australia’s batting order for the upcoming tour, his state coach Justin Langer says.
Marsh has not played since breaking a finger as an opening batsman in the first Test against SA in November but the 33-year-old was named in the 16-man squad for the four-Test series against India.
All-rounder Mitchell Marsh, Shaun’s younger brother, played at No6 in the same match against the Proteas but was dropped for the second Test in favour of a specialist batsman and overlooked for the rest of the home summer.
The spot has become something of a headache for selectors, who churned through Callum Ferguson, Nic Maddinson and all-rounder Hilton Cartwright during series against SA and Pakistan, with none of the three able to cement their place.
With rookie Matt Renshaw likely to be retained as opening batsman after impressing in his four Tests over the summer, Shaun Marsh is in a battle with his brother and hard-hitting all-rounder Glenn Maxwell for the middle-order position.
"It depends on which balance they go for, how Australia wants to line up," Western Australia coach Langer said.
"If they go, the traditional XI you’d pick Shaun because of his record on not only the subcontinent but for Australia.
"Shaun deserves to play in the Test match. Even before his injury, he deserved to play."
Shaun Marsh, who has an average of 40.15 from 19 Tests in an injury-blighted career, has never toured India with the Test side but has scored two centuries in Sri Lanka, including a 130 in the third Test in August.
Langer, seen as heir apparent to head coach Darren Lehmann, will coach Australia’s Twenty20 team in a three-match series against Sri Lanka starting in Melbourne on Friday.
The T20 squad is without several first-choice players including captain Steve Smith, batsman David Warner and paceman Mitchell Starc, who are in camp preparing for India.
That has allowed a fairytale selection for 36-year-old Western Australia batsman Michael Klinger, who has grafted at state level for nearly two decades and is in line for his first international cap after an outstanding tournament for the Perth Scorchers in the domestic T20 Big Bash.
"I’d be amazed if he is not in the first XI," Langer said of Klinger.